The Alamo Colleges District board of trustees will welcome two new faces after Saturday’s runoff elections for the District 4 and District 9 seats.

Lorena “Lorraine” Pulido defeated Jose “Joe” Gallegos Jr. in the District 4 race, with more than 78 percent of the vote. Pulido is the communications manager and public information officer for VIA Metropolitan Transit and an adjunct professor at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. She will replace current District 4 trustee and board Chair Marcelo Casillas, who is stepping down from the board after almost 18 years.

In the District 9 race, attorney Leslie “Les” Sachanowicz narrowly beat incumbent Joe Jesse Sanchez with about 51 percent of the vote. Sanchez was appointed to the board in November 2017 to fill the vacant seat.

The District 4 and District 9 board of trustees races are between the top two vote-getters in each of the races. Both Pulido and Sachanowicz garnered the most votes in their races in the Nov. 3 election, but not a majority of the votes, which is required by state law to win in single-member districts.

Sachanowicz, who also is an adjunct professor at St. Mary’s University School of Law, said he plans to start his role in the District 9 seat as a good listener to students, faculty, staff, and other board members.

“Whenever you come into a new organization, you have a choice,” he said. “You can come in as a wrecking ball or someone to be reckoned with, and I don’t want to come in as a wrecking ball.”

One of the first tasks Sachanowicz wants to accomplish on the Alamo Colleges board is to revisit the community college district’s budget to see the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on it. He said he also wanted to help develop a sense of community for students who may be struggling with feeling isolated as a result of the shift to virtual learning.

As the District 4 trustee, Pulido said she wants to get to know her fellow board members and see how they can better support Alamo Colleges students during the coronavirus pandemic.

“To me, that’s the No. 1 priority,” she said. “We see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there’s going to be some time before we get to that. We have to provide them with all the support that they need.”

Pulido also wanted to thank voters for casting their ballots in person and by mail during the holiday season and the pandemic, when there are so many other distractions and reasons not to vote. About 7,600 people voted in both runoffs.

“I’m so grateful that people made their voices heard,” she said. “I am honored to serve on the Alamo Colleges board, and I will work tenaciously for the students’ success in our community.”

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Brooke Crum

Brooke Crum covered education for the San Antonio Report.